Born at Limerzel (Morbihan), April 24, 1839.
Taking of the habit at Notre-Dame de l’Osier, December 31, 1859.
Oblation at Montolivet, February 17, 1861. (no. 539)
Ordination to the priesthood at Notre-Dame de Lumières, July 27, 1862.
Died at Notre-Dame de la Garde, January 12, 1896.
Louis Boëffard was born at Limerzel in the diocese of Vannes, April 24, 1839. He made his classical studies at the minor seminary of Sainte-Anne d’Auray and at the Jesuit college in Vannes. After two years of theology at the major seminary of Vannes, he began his novitiate at Notre-Dame de l’Osier on December 31, 1859. Father Vandenberghe wrote in his notes on the novices that this brother conducted himself well, was good and followed regular observance, but he was shy, lacking in self-assertion and with lively emotions. At the scholasticate of Montolivet from the beginning of 1860 to the summer of1862 Father Mouchette, moderator of scholastics, saw him as both a good religious and enthusiastic for his duties, regular in his observance, but sometimes reserved and awkward. He made his oblation at Montolivet on February 17, 1861 before Bishop Hippolyte Guibert and was ordained to the priesthood at Notre-Dame de Lumières on July 27, 1862 by Bishop Étienne Semeria.
After his ordination, he spent two years as mission preacher at Autun and one year at Angers. In his letters, he admits that he was a failure. He was then appointed professor of philosophy at Fréjus from 1864 to 1867, then professor and director at the minor seminary at Notre-Dame de Lumières in 1867-1868. He declared that “this situation clashed with his own tastes.” He was then sent to become chaplain of the Sisters of the Holy Family at Bordeaux. The damp climate of that city proved harmful to his larynx, a complaint from which he had alway suffered.
In 1871, he arrived at Marseilles, preached in the parishes and convents of the diocese and did so very successfully. He lived in the community of Le Calvaire from 1871 to 1873 and in that of Notre-Dame de la Garde from 1873 to 1885. From 1885 to 1888, he was superior of the community in Aix. He made some major changes to the building and had brought back from l’Enclos to Aix the altar before which Fathers de Mazenod and Tempier made their vows. From 1888 to 1890, he was sent as a mission preacher at the house in Lyon which had just been established. The climate caused him problems with his voice and he returned to Marseilles, first at Le Calvaire from 1890 to 1891 and then to Notre-Dame de la Garde until his death on January 12, 1896 as a result of a ordinary wound to his foot. It got worse because of his condition as a diabetic.
Father Boëffard was well known as a preacher. He especially preached the Gospel and his delivery was much appreciated in Marseilles. During his life, the local newspapers created for him an glowing reputation. Upon his death, we read the following in an article of Écho de Notre-Dame de la Garde: “A preacher of distinction with a powerful, moving voice, sustained by intensive study, lively with a grand oratorical style, Father Bo’ffard preached with good results in almost all the churches of the diocese and the region.”
Yvon Beaudoin, o.m.i.
Sources and Bibliography
Oblate General Archives in Rome. Oblation formula, Montolivet, February 17, 1861. A few letters to Fathers L’Hermite, Fabre, Martinet and Tatin.
“R. P. Louis Boëffard” in Missions O.M.I., vol. 55, (1912) p. 539-554.
“R. P. Boëffard” in Écho de Notre-Dame de la Garde, 15th year (1895-1896), p. 155.